The board said that it expects to make “difficult choices” of where to cut costs in an online address to NS’ 20,000 staff. The railway does not expect passenger volumes to return to 2019 levels, a record year for the company, until 2025.
NS says that it wants to keep passenger train tickets affordable and is expected to request financial support from the Dutch state. The company says it is in talks with the Dutch Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Infrastructure, which grants the concession for the core network. Among the suggested options is a reduction in performance indicators for train operation and the €450m payment for track access charges.
NS will restore its full timetable minus overnight services on June 2 but with capacity restrictions in place to respect social distancing of 1.5m between individual passengers. The railway expects demand for domestic and cross-border services to be impacted by the coming economic recession. The railway also expects demand to be harmed by passengers changing to other modes of transport, in particular e-bikes.
Since limitations on services were introduced on March 13, NS has transported around 110,000 passengers per day compared with 1.3 million before the start of the pandemic.